By Brian Carter, SVP, Product, Validic™

Are you getting the same level of engagement from your investment in health and wellness solutions that you saw in the early days? In a previous professional life, I remember well the day my CEO let me know that I would be leading the design and rollout of a weight loss competition solution – and would be rolling it out within 60 days of the first meeting in which we discussed it. Long story short, we built a really cool app and saw a lot of excitement and massive success from an engagement standpoint. More than half of our employees signed up, and we saw great results from the challenge. Next was an activity (steps) competition. Again, we saw similar success.

Then, the HR team continued to roll out more of the same programs over the next couple years, and we eventually found adoption trending towards zero. What changed?

The answer was, not much – and that was the problem. The team added a bunch of zippy new features to the activity competition application to make it more engaging. The promotion and support around the challenges got more slick and clever. The prizes were as attractive as they always were. But the actual meat of the program was, essentially, the same. The same couple groups of people kept winning and the criteria to win didn’t really change.

With the innovations in the wearables and connected health devices market, there are a lot of new opportunities to help keep people engaged in new and interesting ways. Here are some neat ideas we’ve discussed here at Validic, and have heard from our clients recently.

  • Many of the latest activity trackers now include heart rate data. Steps are great, but aren’t necessarily a metric that can be tracked across a lot of other activity types. Consider a competition to see who can get their heart pumping for 30 minutes a day for the most days.

  • Don’t sleep on sleep! Numerous studies tell us that getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to boost your health and be more productive. Incentivizing sleep tracking, or having a competition around who can get a great night’s sleep the most nights in a row, are starting to be frequently -discussed ideas with our clients.

  • Counting total steps per day is the standard that we see with a lot of our clients today. Many of the modern activity trackers on the market now make very high-frequency intervals of step counts available. This can enable a whole new breed of incentive; maybe you want to incentivize people to take a lap around the office every hour, or to show that they’re really getting moving for at least 30 minutes per day. High-frequency steps data can make these ideas a reality.

  • As we know, chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension are becoming more and more prevalent. While not all wellness programs are ready to actually help manage these conditions, many are starting to think about incentivizing their members with chronic conditions to actively measure their condition-specific biometrics on a regular basis. Having members simply connect their devices, and rewarding them for taking measurements, is a great step towards helping them stay the course on managing their condition.

These are just a few examples that I’ve seen in how wellness companies are starting to take advantage of the exciting innovations in personal health devices. What ideas do you have? How can we help? Let us know at

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